Monday, June 9, 2014

The object of the day: Flowers on a marble ledge by Elise Bruyere

Flowers on a marble ledge (1776 to 1847 France)
by Elise Bruyere  (1776-1847)

Oil on canvas

26.00cm wide 37.00cm high (10.24 inches wide 14.57 inches high)


Description / Expertise
Élise Bruyère was the daughter of Jean-Jacques le Barbier, who was a noted writer, illustrator and painter of French historical scenes. Both Élise and her sister, who was also a painter studied with their father and subsequently with Jan Frans van Dael in his studio at the Sorbonne University. She exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1798 and was to become highly regarded in the male dominated art scene of the early Nineteenth Century, winning a second-class medal in 1827.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The care of antique works on paper

Porcupine, 1951, woodcut by Leonard Baskin
All works on paper have special needs; some problems, such as the damage caused by sunlight, have been touched on above, but this needs emphasis, and other risks need to be mentioned. Whether used for drawings, watercolours, prints or books, the healthy survival of paper, or otherwise, depends upon its quality. Until the early nineteenth century paper was made from linen rags, and the cellulose content in linen meant that added chemicals were unnecessary: this type of paper is the most resilient.
Paper made from wood pulp, as much was from the 1840s onwards, included lignin, an acidic light-sensitive substance which eventually turns the paper brown and brittle, while certain methods of sizing paper, and bleaching it, have also caused susceptibility to damage.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Antique Art Deco ceramics

Bright colours and attractive white and cream glazes are the keynotes of Art Deco ceramics. Pottery and tableware took on bold geometric shapes with attractive hand-finished decoration. Brightly coloured glazes were popular in America. China figures were produced in great numbers: favourite subjects were modern women, naked or scantily dressed, sporting figures and animals.

In England the Doulton Lambeth potteries made small bone china figures that maintained a cautious balance between traditional crinolined lady and the modern woman. Figures by Phoebe Stabler, Richard Garbe and Gilbert Bayes are especially collectable. The Wedgewood range of vases, bowls, covered boxes and inkstands, many designed by the New Zealander Keith Murray, epitomize machine age geometry, enhanced by monochrome matt glazes of subdued green, grey-blue and ivory.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Toby jugs

The jug was probably named and modelled after ‘Sir Toby Philpot’ a legendary 18th century drinker, who also made an appearance in Francis Fawkes song ‘The Brown Jug’. It has also been suggested that Sir Tony Belch, a character in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, may have influenced the choice of name.

The first Toby jugs were made in the 1760s in Staffordshire, an area already known for the manufacture of Earthenware figures. Today, one of the most desirable of the early Staffordshire Toby jugs is the so-called Ralph Wood-type. Credited with the invention and spread of the jug, Ralph Wood I produced well-modelled figures decorated with translucent coloured glazes. He was amongst the first English potters to mark his work and Wood signed Toby jugs are particularly sought-after. An unmarked Ralph Wood I jug is usually worth over £1,000, depending on condition, but his rare ‘Thin Man’ jugs can be worth double. Jugs marked with a Mould number are often more valuable and examples signed by Wood command a premium, sometimes over £2,500.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Antique English slipware

Slipware is a type of pottery that particularly flourished in England in the 17th century and the early years of the 18th century. Essentially, it is red or buff earthenware decorated with white or coloured slip (diluted clay) that contrasts with the body. A yellowish lead glaze is characteristic.

Decoration took the form of slip-trailing, applied mouldings or sgraffito. In some areas combed (zig-zag), feathered and marbled patterns were favoured from the early 18th century.
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